Is the High Church of Woke Collapsing?
Christian denominations embracing immorality take note: The most corrupt of all is hemorrhaging congregants.
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.” —George Washington(1796)
If you’re not affiliated with the Episcopal Church, why does this matter? Because it is the church of the most influential, wealthy, white leftist protagonists, and a template for how they can infuse their rotten ideology into any denomination. Ironically, 50 years ago the Episcopal Church had a reputation of being “Republicans at Prayer,” but now it has devolved into a cesspool of degenerate ideology.
Our Founders were forthright about faith as an indispensable support to sustain American Liberty. They understood that faith and family were the primary pillars supporting the freedom of our Republic.
John Adams declared: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Benjamin Rush added: “The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
But today, we are saturated in the cultural effluent of a country whose degraded politicians have, over the last five decades, outlawed public faith expressions and stripped our once-enviable academic institutions of their religious and civic curriculums. Currently, they are endeavoring to normalize and institutionalize the greatest cultural threat to the faith and family pillars — their gender cult orthodoxy, even in its most deviant manifestations, now to include embracing gender dysphoria.
That warped agenda was given a significant boost by Joe Biden six months ago, when he signed the misnamed Respect for Marriage Act, which accomplished the Left’s goal of disrespecting and demoting marriage. Basically, this legislation further codified the Left’s redefinition of marriage by establishing national reciprocity — forcing states to recognize “same-sex marriage” licenses from other states, much as they do driver’s licenses. (Still waiting on national reciprocity that forces states to recognize “right to carry” licenses!)
Marriage is the foundation of the family, which in turn serves as the foundation of society. The Christian marriage paradigm is built on a foundation of five principles: First, God is the creator of the marriage relationship; second, heterosexuality is God’s pattern for marriage; third, monogamy is God’s design for marriage; fourth, physical and spiritual unity is God’s plan for marriage; and fifth, marriage was designed to be permanent.
Marriage as an institution has been under assault from many quarters, one of the most menacing being the challenge to traditional sexual morality. It is no small irony that not only have homosexuals successfully challenged the status of traditional marriage, but sexual immorality leading to broken marriages also fosters homosexual pathology.
The Left’s long-war strategy against marriage is to redefine its timeless “binary” definition as between a man and a woman by attempting to redefine gender. Ironically, it is leftist women who are leading the charge.
It is not motivated to placate their gender-dysphoric constituents but to empower government by eroding Liberty, the nemesis of their statist agenda. They know that the best way to accomplish that is to attack faith and family, starting with children. The result now is a younger generation besieged with woke culture and gender disorientation, though the good news is that susceptibility to disorientation declines after adolescence.
Leftists also know that the best way to undermine faith is to infuse their agenda into long-established Christian denominations. That seeding sprouted first in the historic Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA), the American branch of the World Anglican Communion.
Because it has deep roots in American history and is also enormously wealthy.
Just one of its churches, Trinity in lower Manhattan, which dates to the 17th century, has a portfolio in excess of $6 billion.
The earliest record of an Anglican Book of Common Prayer service on American soil dates to almost 200 years prior to the Revolution (19 June 1579), as conducted by Sir Frances Drake’s crew.
In the Colonial period, the Episcopal Church was the official church of Virginia (1609), Massachusetts (1620), New York (1693), Maryland (1702), South Carolina (1706), North Carolina (1730), and Georgia (1758).
The longest continually inhabited church in America is Bruton Parish, established in 1715. It is adjacent to William and Mary College in colonial Williamsburg. Revolutionary leaders including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry attended Bruton when they were convened as members of the Virginia House of Burgesses.
General Washington was a devoted Episcopalian. During the Revolutionary era, he served as a vestryman and had a designated pew at Pohick Church in Mount Vernon, Virginia, which he was instrumental in founding. Weather permitting, he frequently attended Christ Church in Alexandria, 10 miles north of Mount Vernon (a two-hour trip by carriage). According to his family, Washington’s days began and ended with private devotions in his library, and he reserved most Sundays for family only, accepting very few visitors.
His daughter, Eleanor Custis Lewis, wrote of his faith: “I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, ‘that they may be seen of men.’ He communed with his God in secret.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
Washington himself professed that, should we want our Liberty secure and freedom to endure, we must “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, obey his will, be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favors.”
Unfortunately, some 200 years after the American Revolution, many Episcopal Church leaders have abandoned the church’s venerable legacy and forsaken the Almighty’s providence. Liberals in the church endeavor to interpret the Bible eisegetically versus exegetically in order that it comports with their contemporary social agenda rather than its “original intent” — much as leftists interpret the so-called “living Constitution” in order to undermine Rule of Law.
In other words, they reject the authority of the Bible (as outlined in the Episcopal Articles of Faith), much as they reject the authority of our Constitution. So significant is this rejection that many bishops in the World Anglican Communion now view the U.S. as a “mission field” and are establishing their own Anglican Church plants within ECUSA diocese. (For displaced Episcopalians who miss the liturgy and traditions of this once-great church, you may have an Anglican Church in North America parish nearby.)
Moreover, in April of this year, Bishops representing 85 percent of the World Anglican Communion withdrew their recognition of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as the “first among equals,” due to his weak commitment to “the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture.”
But ECUSA’s most overt rejection of biblical authority came 20 years ago in 2003, when “enlightened” U.S. bishops rebuffed the World Anglican Communion and codified their rejection of scriptural authority by ordaining Vicky Gene Robinson, a divorced father of two residing with his homosexual partner, as Bishop of New Hampshire. This action was heretical, a willful violation of Scripture and the historic faith order and governing canons of the church, codifying a growing schism between the American Church and World Anglican Communion.
A year later, the World Anglican Communion called on the Episcopal Church to “repent.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England and primus inter pares, or “first among equals,” in World Communion standing, then issued a covenant affirming that national churches agree to maintain “biblical standards” of Anglican doctrine — in other words, abide by Scripture.
At its 2015 triennial General Convention, ECUSA delegates voted overwhelmingly to allow “weddings” for same-sex couples.
“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female…’” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 19:4)
For the record, I am a former fifth-generation Episcopalian, who, until 30 years ago, held leadership positions in the church. But in 1990, I could see on the near horizon how wealthy white left-elitists were doing what they do best: undermining the foundational pillars of the church. I first realized the extent of the wealthy leftist infiltration when I picked up a “welcome” tract from a rack in the entrance to our church entitled, “The Episcopal Church” and subtitled, “A Church for Thinking Christians.” Apparently, those who attend other churches must be ignorant.
I protested the actions of a small but very vocal group of homosexual advocates who were systemically undermining the most fundamental of church tenets, scriptural truth, in an effort to normalize gender confusion pathology.
Daring to speak out against their agenda, I was labeled by their screeching Rainbow Mafia thugs as pharisaical, intolerant, a judgmental bigot, and a hater — “homophobic” in current parlance — accusations that serve only to preclude discussing this issue consequentially. Those who apply such labels do so only as a means of arresting discourse. One could more accurately ascribe the label of “heterophobic gender deniers” to those who deny the indisputable science supporting binary gender.
Unfortunately, there are some Christians who in fact are judgmental, and, frankly, they miss the central message of the Gospel.
But the “judgmental” accusation is often a deliberate misreading of John 8:1-11, where Jesus challenged Pharisees who were preparing to stone an adulterous woman. To the Pharisees standing in her judgment, Jesus said, “Who among you has not sinned, let him cast the first stone.”
However, those who invoke the “grace” aspect of this account to correctly assert that we should not stand in judgment neglect to mention the second part of what Jesus then does. After the Pharisees dispersed, Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Go now, and sin no more.” Jesus shows her love and grace but calls out her sin — he clearly does not embrace it.
Indeed, Jesus did not seek out sinners so he could embrace their sin, but as recorded in Luke 5:30-32, when Pharisees complained, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
But Episcopal Church leaders have embraced sin to the point that it is now heralded as a virtue-signaling pillar of the church.
In this so-called “pride month,” Episcopal churches across the nation are virtue-signaling with rainbow flags and placards affirming their embrace of the gender cult. However, when I contemplate the notion of “pride” in sin, I am reminded, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) When I contemplate those who are being led down this path to destructions, I am reminded, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
How is it that some have become so delusional that they scantly observe Memorial Day but devote a month to gender cult debauchery?
Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate (read: Apostate) of ECUSA, declared, “Being a Christian is … about following in the footsteps of Jesus, taking his teachings seriously.”
However, embracing sin in the name of “love and inclusion” is neither “following in the footsteps of Jesus” nor “taking his teachings seriously.”
The national ECUSA website has a whole “LGBTQ” section devoted to their “legacy of inclusion” and asserting that “Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.”
They have overturned the maxim “love the sinner, hate the sin” and perverted it into “love the sinner, embrace the sin.”
And notably, far more consequential than embracing the gender cult agenda is the fact that in June of 2022 after the Dobbs vs. Jackson SCOTUS decision, so intent was Bishop Curry on pandering to his leftist female congregants that he strongly rejected that decision, in effect embracing the killing of the most innocent among us – children before birth.
According to Curry: “The court has overturned the constitutional right to abortion that was recognized in the seminal 1973 case Roe v. Wade. … I am deeply grieved by it. … The Episcopal Church maintains that access to equitable health care, including reproductive health care and reproductive procedures, is "an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being.” … The Episcopal Church sustains its “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them.”
“Reproductive health care and reproductive procedures,” a kinder gentler way of saying “the Episcopal Church maintains that access to equitable killing of babies…”
Curry invoked the “Sanger Solution,” the position of Planned Parenthood’s racist founder Margaret Sanger as a means to stop the growth of “unwanted” ethnic breeds. Sanger characterized the poor as “human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning … human beings who never should have been born.”
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
Jesus was clear about God’s design, about male and female, about man and woman. Jesus called us to love all people, including those who have been led astray by pathological distortions of God’s design. He did not call on us to embrace those distortions and call them “normal,” thereby abandoning our brothers and sisters to its misery and destruction. There is nothing “loving” about that.
The passage in Matthew refers back to Genesis. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Later in Matthew 19:10, Christ also says: “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth…” (In the Greek text, one finds the word “eunouxoi,” meaning one with a congenital defect or castrated, and without the ability to consummate marriage. The reference is distinctly different from the Greek word for homosexuals or sodomites as referenced by Paul. Homosexual advocates sometimes incorrectly invoke this passage as justification.)
Jesus was also clear about churches that indoctrinate youth with their errant teachings.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
But disagreement with the social agendas of homosexual advocates has no direct correlation with one’s capacity to love or have compassion for homosexuals. Nor is such dissent related to judgment, which is for God alone. Rather, it is about discernment between right and wrong, and obedience to objective truth rather than the cult of subjective relativism popularly justified under the contemporary aegis of “tolerance” and “diversity.”
The Apostle Paul warned: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) And it would seem that time is now. This adulteration of timeless Scripture is akin to preaching a false “prosperity gospel,” what theological historian Albert Mohler notes is a “theology not centered on God and his glory, but an anthropocentric psychological message aimed at making individuals merely feel better about themselves.”
In 1993, my priest and bishop, after lamenting I had “made more waves in the Diocese than any lay person in its history,” kindly suggested that I leave the church. But I refused to abandon my fellow Episcopalians to the coming moral collapse of this once-great church — until we had children of our own who we wanted to raise in a genuine faith community. Thus, I did leave in 1996, seeing on the far horizon the collapse of all but the structural remnants of the church. The only thing I miss today is the beautiful historic liturgy of the “Book of Common Prayer.”
And indeed, in the decades since, that collapse is well underway. Homosexual advocates have now redefined the doctrines of the Episcopal Church, in effect discarding the most fundamental tenet of the church’s foundation, Scripture.
And the result?
In its May 2023 edition, Anglican Watch noted, “It’s official: The Episcopal church is dying.” In fact, two years ago before the ChiCom Virus pandemic struck, Eastern Illinois University political science professor Ryan Burge had been documenting the “Death of the Episcopal Church,” its plummeting attendance that coincided with its decades-long rejection of scriptural authority.
Today’s ECUSA membership of 1.52 million is 400,000 fewer than it was a decade ago leaving it in the column of Christian sects, no longer a mainstream denomination. Other much larger mainstream churches have lost members, but most to independent churches.
The church is in need of a reality check. Rev. Dwight Zscheile, an Episcopal priest and professor, warned: “The overall picture is dire. Not one of decline as much as demise within the next generation unless trends change significantly.”
When contemplating the demise of the Episcopal Church, I am reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan, who, unlike the priest and the Levite, rendered assistance to the poor man who had been robbed and beaten. “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” (Jesus in Luke 10:36)
When the gender devolution cult infests a once-great and faithful denomination, and too few courageous congregants remain to stand in love and truth for the welfare of those who have been seduced by gender dysphoria and other gender confusion manifestations, the result is apostasy — the abandonment of the foundational tenets of faith — and the consequence is the abandonment of the church by its members.
But as noted previously, ECUSA is enormously wealthy, and its diocese own most of the church properties its congregants support. Thus, congregations can’t simply declare their independence from the corrupt church institution. Thus, its errant teachings will survive long after its last Christian communicant has left the building.
Finally, all being said about how the Episcopal Church has rejected scriptural authority, fueling its own demise, let me make this clear: While the cultish gender confusion agenda is the most promoted of woke cultural degradations undermining family, I believe divorce is the greatest scourge on families, and the consequences of fatherless homes is dire. It is no coincidence that one consequence of absent or ineffective fathering in homes, is the rise of gender confusion in young people.
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(For a comprehensive exposition on this issue, read my essay, “Gender Disorientation — A Faithful Response to the ‘LGBT?’ Agenda.”)
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
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